Clash of the Titans LXXIX — The Stanley Cup

April 18, 2008, 12:00 pm; posted by
Filed under David, Debate, Djere  | 6 Comments

In this corner, supporting the Philadelphia Flyers, is David!

And in this corner, rooting for the Philadelphia Flyers, is Djere!

The Flyers started their postseason with a loss this year, but it was this game, and the game that followed, that convinced me they had a legitimate shot at winning Lord Stanley\’s Cup this year.

In the opening game they lost 5-4 at Washington, before a sellout crowd that could only be called “manic.” They were so pumped! Alex Ovechkin had almost singlehandedly led them through a streak of 11 games without a loss to win the Southeast Division. He had also pretty much clinched the season MVP award, by scoring 65 goals and lifting his team into the playoffs. Winning game one was inevitable for the Caps.

So why was I so sure Philly would win the series and have a shot at winning it all? Because, while weathering the first game storm, they still scored four times — and each goal was effortless. Washington scored five goals in a frantic pace they could never sustain, but the Flyers sat back, played patient hockey, and netted four effortless goals.

It takes three things to win the Stanley Cup — solid defense, opportunistic offense and hot goaltending. The Flyers show all three.

Solid defense — The Flyers have a deep defensive core with a good mix of young guys and hardy veterans. Hatcher, Modry and Timonen are three solid veterans, while Coburn, Jones and Kukkonen are three young guys with size and speed. And the entire team is playing with a patience that dictates defense first, then offense.

Opportunistic offense: Solid defense produces turnovers, and a turnover in the hands of a sniper winds up in the back of the net. The Devils made a living, and won a couple Cups, with a lineup that featured no superstars but snipers on every line. The Flyers’ top seven forwards averaged nearly 28 goals each this year. That’s the kind of depth a team needs to take advantage of every opportunity to score, and the Flyers have it. So far, in this series, they have scored 16 goals from 8 different players, and they have done it effortlessly. It’s sustainable.

Hot goaltending: Marty Biron gave up five goals in game one, so you might question calling that hot goaltending — but let me explain. That loss was, as I said, inevitable. If the Flyers put ten men on the ice, it would not have kept the Capitals from doing whatever it took to win. Strike it from the record.

But Biron ended the season by shutting out Pittsburgh and New Jersey, the two best teams in the Atlantic Division. He came back in game 2 in Washington and pitched another shutout. His last six games, including that five-goal game, give him a GAA of 1.83 and a .933 save percentage with three shutouts. I call that hot goaltending!

Hello Lord Stanley!

As an amateur Chaotician and part-time Historian, I bring good tidings of great joy. The curse of William Penn will be lifted this spring, and the Broad Street Bullies shall win the Stanley Cup.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, William Penn founded the original British colony of Pennsylvania, or “Penn’s Woods.” Residing atop Philadelphia’s City Hall is a statue of Mr. Penn, complete with goofy colonial hat and shoe buckles. For years and years, the city maintained a gentlemen’s agreement (strictly enforced by the city planner) that no building in the City of Philadelphia would exceed the statue’s prominence of 548 feet.

The ’70s and ’80s saw a veritable hotbed of sporting-related successes in Philadelphia. Championships were won by the Flyers in ’74 and ’75 (with Stanley Cup Finals appearances in ’76, ’80, and ’85); the Phillies won the World Series in ’80 and the NL pennant in ’83; the Eagles won the ’81 NFC championship; and even the 76ers won the NBA Championship in ’83, making the finals in ’77, ’80, and ’82. Things were looking good in the City of Brotherly Love.

But then, disaster struck. Developers broke ground on One Liberty Place, the first skyscraper slated to supersede the statue in height. Since construction of the 945-foot behemoth began in 1985, Philadelphia has not seen a championship in baseball, football, basketball, hockey, college basketball — or (worst of all) even horse racing’s Triple Crown.

But today, things are changing. Eclipsing even the shadow of One Liberty Place is the new Comcast Center, the tallest building in all of Pennsylvania. How will this change the sporting atmosphere of Philadelphia?

Two reasons:
1. Comcast owns the Flyers and the 76ers.
2. Attached to the tallest beam on the skyscraper is a statue of William Penn.

From his new perch, high atop the Comcast Center, ol’ Billy Penn can finally stand at ease as the tallest man in his woods, lifting his curse with him.

Go Flyers and God bless America!

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Comments

6 Comments to “Clash of the Titans LXXIX — The Stanley Cup”

  1. Mike on April 18th, 2008 12:56 pm

    Best. Clash. Ever. However, I do not like overconfidence. I am superstitious about very few things, but overconfidence is not one of them….

  2. Steve on April 18th, 2008 2:05 pm

    “I do not like overconfidence
    I am superstitious
    (about very few things)
    but
    overconfidence is not one of them”

    So either you dislike overconfidence, at a level short of superstition, or you have an inadvertent ‘not’ in there?

  3. Mike J on April 20th, 2008 4:52 pm

    Inadvertent “not.” My bad. Or not my bad. :)

    MJ

  4. Dsweetgoober on April 23rd, 2008 9:17 am

    Whew!

  5. Steve on April 23rd, 2008 10:25 am

    Yeah, I’m glad we avoided the blame that would have resulted from a 3-game post-clash collapse.

  6. Dsweetgoober on April 23rd, 2008 5:06 pm

    Yeah, I was feeling heat but I was going to blame the editor who assigned the piece. We need to have a fictitious editorial name just for that reason.

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